Stories by Jonathan Lee

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Piecemeal shelters during winter storm highlight need for better coordination

At a meeting Monday to discuss the city’s response to Winter Storm Uri, City Council highlighted one of its biggest priorities to prepare for future disasters: strengthening Austin’s network of disaster shelters.  Though Council members praised the community and city…

Friday, May 14, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commission gives developer and neighbors more time to break ‘impasse’

The developers of a small East Austin mixed-use project will have to keep talking it out with concerned neighbors to resolve their differences. The Planning Commission, after trying and failing to break the “impasse” between the developer and several neighbors,…

Friday, May 14, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commission recommends PUD zoning for Brackenridge Hospital tract

The Planning Commission Tuesday recommended Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning for the tract that was formerly home to Brackenridge Hospital, bringing one of the biggest downtown redevelopment projects one step closer to design and construction. Owner Central Health is planning…

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council approves rezoning for Foundation Communities project, quashing valid petition

A 100 percent affordable apartment project is coming soon to Southeast Austin. City Council has approved a rezoning for the Parker Apartments, a project by affordable housing developer Foundation Communities with 135 income-restricted units catering to families. Council members voted…

Friday, May 7, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council commits to designated campsites, approves more funds for housing

City Council ramped up its fight against homelessness Thursday, passing a resolution to set up temporary designated campsites for people experiencing homelessness and authorizing new funds to homeless service providers for housing.  The passage of Prop B, which reinstates bans…

Thursday, May 6, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

With tenants still enduring mold damage caused by Uri, Council pushes for more landlord regulation

Though it has been several months since Winter Storm Uri damaged infrastructure and homes across the city, some apartment residents are still dealing with severe mold damage that landlords have failed to fix. Worse, when some tenants asked the city…

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council wants Project Connect TOD plans in place ‘pronto’

The city is set to overhaul its transit-oriented development policies to allow denser, more equitable development near future Project Connect stations as soon as possible.  “We need to be ready from the word ‘go’ to let areas near our transit…

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

On the heels of Prop B, housing committee supports rehousing 3,000 people in 3 years

The Housing and Planning Committee on Monday supported the main goal of Austin’s recent homelessness summit – rehousing 3,000 people experiencing homelessness within three years.  The committee voted unanimously to recommend City Council approve a resolution turning the goal, created by…

Monday, May 3, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

With Prop C passage, Council can decide how to oversee police oversight office

Austin voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition C Saturday, paving the way for City Council to change who the director of police oversight reports to – an independent body or Council itself. According to the unofficial results, 62.9 percent (96,888 people) voted…

Friday, April 30, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Carver Museum expansion plans headed to Council in May

City Council is set to approve expansion plans for the George Washington Carver Museum in May, the final step in a yearlong – and entirely virtual – process of planning, community engagement, and board and commission review. The museum is…

Thursday, April 29, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

City gains parkland along Williamson Creek, but access proves tricky

The Planning Commission tried to settle a dispute Tuesday over public park access between the Parks and Recreation Department and the developer of a South Congress multifamily project. When finding the best solution for both parties proved elusive, commissioners blamed the…

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Bergstrom Spur, MoKan Corridor trails could get big boost from federal funds

Two proposed urban trails may soon see federal dollars thrown their way.  Thanks to congressional funding requests from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, the six-mile Bergstrom Spur Trail could receive up to $11 million in federal funds, and a one-mile segment of the…

Monday, April 26, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Council to change Downtown Density Bonus fees, consider new FAR rules

Long-awaited changes to the Downtown Density Bonus Program are back on track after City Council passed a resolution Thursday aimed at maximizing the affordable housing fees generated through the program.   “I am very confident that the changes that we’ve initiated,…

Friday, April 23, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

City rushes to complete Red River improvements before concert crowds return

The city is working quickly to complete streetscape improvements to Red River Street, home to some of the city’s most renowned music venues, before flocks of concertgoers return as more and more people get vaccinated against Covid-19.  “I don’t want…

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Devil is in the details when it comes to recalibrating density bonus

City Council is set to approve a resolution recalibrating the Downtown Density Bonus program’s affordable housing fees, a first attempt to pick up the pieces of the city’s failed Land Development Code rewrite. Almost all Council members have said they…

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Cap Metro details early TOD planning for areas near Project Connect stations

At last Thursday’s Mobility Committee meeting, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials previewed a key part of Project Connect – creating land-use plans for areas near stations.  By guiding the development of affordable and market-rate housing, the plans aim to ensure…

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commission backs apartments on St. Andrew’s School property

The Planning Commission last Tuesday backed rezoning a portion of land owned by St. Andrew’s School in Southwest Austin, bringing a proposed 295-unit apartment project one step closer to fruition. The school aims to rezone a 15-acre slice of its…

Friday, April 16, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Ethics commissioners say nonprofit acted in ‘bad faith’

The Ethics Review Commission expressed frustration Wednesday that nonprofit Save Austin Now has not yet brought evidence to refute an ethics complaint filed against it, delaying a final hearing that was set for the meeting. Counsel for the nonprofit said…

Thursday, April 15, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Planning Commission recommends newest Foundation Communities project

The Planning Commission has backed the latest project by local affordable housing developer Foundation Communities, recommending Multifamily-Moderate Density (MF-4) zoning for an 8-acre, church-owned property at 2105 Parker Lane in Southeast Austin. The Parker Apartments will offer 135 units affordable…

Monday, April 12, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

City to create disaster-relief hubs

Spurred into action by Winter Storm Uri, City Council has moved to establish emergency hubs across the city where residents can go during a natural disaster to find food, water and shelter – belatedly acting on plans from two years…

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